If you own a business, you know how important it is to have insurance. But you also need to have the right certificate of insurance to prove you have coverage.
Some states or local municipalities require certain types of business insurance, such as general liability insurance, before you can get a license to operate. Your work trucks must be insured with business auto coverage. Clients and customers may require you to have insurance before they agree to work with you. You might even have to carry insurance before you can bid on a project.
As a business, having proof of insurance on hand is important. One of the most reliable and trustworthy forms of proof of insurance is the ACORD certificate. You typically receive an ACORD certificate when you open any business insurance policy. Here’s what you need to know about the ACORD certificate of insurance.
An ACORD certificate is a one-page document that provides a summary of your insurance coverage. ACORD certificates can provide proof of many different types of commercial insurance coverage, such as general liability insurance, professional liability insurance, workers’ compensation, commercial auto insurance, and others.
History of the ACORD certificate
ACORD stands for the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development, which is an international nonprofit organization created in 1970. The group formed in response to what was, at the time, a confusing situation in the insurance industry.
Back in the 1960s, every insurance company had its own process for creating and issuing documentation and insurance forms. Because there was no industry standard, customers, clients, and event insurance agents struggled to make sense of the various policies. There needed to be unified documentation to simplify insurance.
The companies that founded ACORD agreed that this organization could develop standard forms for use by all insurers. At that point, the ACORD certificate of insurance was created to unify the industry.
Today, when you need proof of coverage, the ACORD certificate is the quickest and easiest way to provide that proof. Not to mention, it’s the most recognized and trusted. ACORD provides insurance documentation in 100 countries and works with more than 36,000 organizations.
Information included on an ACORD insurance certificate
The ACORD certificate of insurance provides a comprehensive look into your commercial insurance policies. This makes it easy to determine what types of insurance you have, how much coverage you have, and more. An ACORD certificate of insurance usually includes the following information:
- Your company’s name and contact information. That includes your business name, complete address, phone number, email, and fax number, if available.
- Your insurance company’s information. The ACORD certificate lists your insurance company’s name and physical address, as well as the name and contact information for your agent, if you have one.
- What kind of insurance you have. An ACORD certificate specifies the types of insurance coverage you have, such as general liability or professional liability, auto, or workers’ compensation insurance. It will also list any add-ons you have.
- Your policy number. You can find your policy number on an ACORD certificate, which is important to know if you ever need to file a claim.
- The coverage period. Anyone who reviews your ACORD certificate of insurance will be able to see when your current coverage begins and ends. Third parties who request to see proof of insurance will want to make sure that your policy is active.
- The coverage limits. Your ACORD certificate contains your coverage limits. This is the maximum amount of money your insurance company will pay for a covered claim. It may also include any other limitations that apply under your policy. This can be important information that proves you have sufficient coverage to meet the needs of a typical business like yours.
- Deductible. Last, you’ll find your deductibles on the ACORD certificate. This is the amount of money you must pay before your insurance company begins to pay for a covered claim.
After you buy a business insurance policy, you get an ACORD certificate. If you didn’t get a certificate or if you’ve misplaced it, don’t panic. Today, most insurance companies have an online portal that customers can access to pay their premiums, file a claim, and get other important information about their coverage.
If you have digital access to your account, many insurance companies allow policyholders to download an ACORD certificate of insurance whenever they need one. Of course, you can also contact your insurance agent or the insurance company if you can’t get a digital ACORD certificate of insurance online, or lose your original copy.
Why is an ACORD certificate important?
There are many reasons you may need an ACORD certificate of insurance.
If you are signing a lease to rent space for your business, the landlord may require you to have general liability insurance. A potential client may ask for proof of liability insurance before they sign a contract with your business. You may even choose to include your ACORD certificate as part of your project proposal to show the prospective customer or client you are a financially responsible and established business.
As a business owner, you should also consider asking for an ACORD certificate when you purchase services or partner with other companies. For example, the next time you hire a vendor or subcontractor, ask to see their ACORD insurance certificates. If they provide them quickly, it’s a good indication they have the coverage you’d expect from a reputable company.
What happens if a certificate is not ACORD-approved?
Some forms of proof of insurance are not ACORD-approved. When clients or prospective customers ask for proof of coverage, many will accept something other than an ACORD certificate. For example, they may be satisfied with a statement on letterhead from your insurance company that includes your coverage limits and policy number.
However, ACORD certificates of insurance are the industry standard. They are clearly identified with the widely recognized ACORD logo, which is trusted and accepted throughout the U.S. and around the world.
When you present an ACORD certificate, the recipient knows your insurer is reliable and complies with the latest industry standards. For instance, let’s say your state amends its insurance regulations. The ACORD organization keeps track of those changes and updates its certificate of insurance as needed.
Learn more from your agent, insurance company, or ACORD.
Talk with your agent or insurance company to learn how you can get an ACORD certificate of insurance. To learn more about ACORD, you can visit their website, acord.org.